A convertible with a new price of less than 32,000 euros is certainly not a bargain, but true luxury also looks different. The mixture of SUV and convertible remains unusual – can it still convince?

“I like the car,” says the elderly gentleman standing in front of the test car as I lug my purchases over to the T-Roc. His wife stands by and nods. Then they point to their own car, which is only a few meters away. Gray metallic, a smaller compact SUV. Or to put it another way: a T-Roc, only the roof is not made of fabric but of metal. And with that the roof closes, it works in 9 seconds and also up to 30 km/h.

“We would also have liked to have had the convertible, but that didn’t come out until six months later, after we bought ours,” says the man. And his wife adds: “I also really like the color with the red, it looks fresher than our grey.” This time the man nods.

Before the very friendly duo go back to their own T-Roc, they discover a penalty. “Oh, the convertible only has two doors. That’s not so practical with our grandchildren.” They say goodbye, probably thinking they made the right choice after all.

The T-Roc, an SUV convertible. Brave. The unusual trend began at Nissan with the open Murano and at Range Rover with the Evoque convertible, but such cars were not a real success – to put it mildly. Now the T-Roc should do better. Such an SUV convertible is and remains a matter of taste: You sit higher than in a sedan, the roof is well insulated, the car is fully suitable for everyday use. But the elegance of a limousine, open with the roof down and windows down, glistening in the sun is another caliber.

Convertibles used to be an integral part of the program at VW for the best-selling car Golf. The term strawberry basket with the Golf I convertible got the ball rolling. The roll bars on the Golf looked like a handle, but were important in terms of safety and torsional rigidity.

Today, the T-Roc is the only way to drive a VW with the top down: the Golf hasn’t been offered with the top down for years, and the Eos and Beetle Cabriolet models are also history. This continues a trend in the multi-brand group. VW’s premium sister Audi has reduced its convertible range to the A5, TT Roadster and R8 Spyder. With the gradual replacement of the Group’s range with electric cars, there is no prospect of an open model at all, apart from the next Porsche Boxster with an electric drive.

Such sporting ambitions are currently alien to the T-Roc. A 1.0-liter petrol engine works under the hood. The three-cylinder turbo is content with a moderate driving style with 5.5 liters and has 110 hp. That may be enough for cruising, but nothing more. And those who want to cruise tend to prefer the DSG automatic – but buyers have to choose the larger machine with 150 hp and 1.5 liters of displacement. The small motor is only available with a manual switch and as soon as it gets a bit hilly, you have to switch gears diligently.

Fresh air prices for the facelift of the T-Roc, which have been in dealerships since March 2022, start at 31,850 euros. The lattice structure of the new radiator grille and the standard LED headlights catch the eye at first glance. The interior was made a little more valuable, for example with door panels and armrests in imitation leather. In addition, the latest infotainment generation is used in the open T-Roc, the screen diagonal is at least 8.0 inches.

And how safe is a car without a handle? Nowadays, body reinforcements and rollover protection integrated in the area of ​​the rear seat headrests ensure the safety of the passengers – by pyrotechnics: If the system registers an impending rollover, two steel plates behind the rear headrests shoot up. That also makes sense, because the T-Roc is a fully-fledged four-seater convertible as long as no 1.90 giants are shipped to the rear.

As already mentioned, the T-Roc is the only convertible representative in the compact class at VW after the Golf, Beetle and Eos fell victim to the cutbacks. That alone is a reason to exist. The car itself is polarizing – thumbs up if you want easy access and good all-round visibility. And if you don’t mind a little less space in the interior, only two doors and a rugged trunk, which still has 284 liters, you get a good convertible. If you put your thumb down, you simply cannot get used to the SUV convertible genre, because the elegance is somewhat lacking compared to a top-down sedan or an open coupe. But you can argue about taste, as we all know.